News ID : 150930
Publish Date : 9/9/2023 9:00:15 PM
Politics, football, advertainments; which is the final winner?


Politics, football, advertainments; which is the final winner?

For the first time, the upcoming football competitions in West Asia have attracted the attention and focus of both political and sports circles. Because on the one hand, the green rectangle is the intersection of politics, football, and of course propaganda for the Saudis, and on the other hand, it is a display of diplomatic victory and an objective and concrete maneuver to change the relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

NOURNEWS- On the day when the famous Cristiano Ronaldo announced his intention to leave the "Islamic League" and join one of the Saudi "Peninsula" club teams with an astronomical contract, media all around the world wrote that "football has sold its soul". But now and after a few months have passed, the observers believe that the Saudis were not looking for the "soul of football" nor the legendary Ronaldo; Rather, they are looking for a new image of Saudi Arabia, in which there is no trace of "Jamal Khashoggi" and women who did not have the right to drive.

In the last few years, Saudi Arabia has hosted both the Formula One and the World Boxing Championships. The country has held golf tournaments and at the same time spent millions of dollars to build Formula One racing cars.

Riyadh has considered a similar figure for video games. These costly ambitions were only a part of the Saudis' sports extravagance, which peaked in 2021. Since it was announced that Riyadh has bought the Newcastle United club from the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund for 391 million dollars. Some whispers also indicated that this fund, through an American joint stock company, also owns a percentage of the shares of the Chelsea football club.

Simultaneously with these developments, Saudi Arabia has transferred the ownership of the four football clubs of this country, namely "Al-Ittihad", "Al-Ahly", "Al-Nassr" and "Al-Hilal" to one of the largest national wealth funds in the world, namely the "Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund”.

It was from this fund that Ronaldo, the Portuguese star of Manchester United, was bought for Al-Nassr for a legendary figure of 380 million euros per minute, Karim Benzema for Al-Ittihad and Neymar for Al-Hilal. Even the famous Argentinian star Lionel Messi did not stay away from benefits of this oil wealth and in exchange for receiving 25 million dollars, he advertises traveling to Saudi Arabia as a luxurious country on social networks. Recently, "Mohamed Salah" was unveiled as one of the jewels that the Saudis intended to buy.

According to official statistics, Saudi Arabia spent 6 billion dollars on these sports sprinklers, and this number is 4 times the figures spent in the last 6 years.

This country says that its sports investments are in line with the realization of the vision designed for 2030 and it is trying to increase foreign investment and employment through this route while diversifying its economy and bring fitness to the people of Saudi Arabia, who are mostly suffering from obesity and overweight. A claim that many, including Europeans, look at with doubt and predict that despite all the investments, Saudi Arabia will eventually become a "football buyer" country and nothing else.

Some also say that "football doping" may be a shortcut for the Saudis to improve their image and increase their power in regional and international arena by strengthening their foreign image. Now the question is why, among all the communication corridors, Saudi Arabia has put its hands on football?

In answer to this question, it should be said that today, football is not only the most popular entertainment in the world, but in the process of its transformation, with a gradual and layered penetration between different generations, it has become the "common language" of the working class of societies and countries that have no social ties nor they had no cultural similarity with each other.

In the new era, football, in addition to being considered a permanent part of culture along with television, film and music industry, is also defined as a communication capacity with other countries. For this reason, governments and capital owners have always benefited from football as a tool to advance their non-sports goals, including economic, political and even security-oriented goals.

In simpler terms; Contrary to the general and basic belief, football was a hidden game from the beginning that was played in the field of capitalists and never belonged to the people. But what made this truth come out from behind the scenes and become more public is the emergence of new players in this field from West Asia, which has changed the traditional model of talent concentration in Britain, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Argentina.

Now the question is, can the newcomers of the capitalist football club change the model that has been ruling in the world of the green rectangle since the beginning of the 1990s and become the new pole of this popular sport?

The answer of the Europeans, especially the countries that were the main shareholders of football and its industry for nearly 3 decades, is negative. These countries believe that the Saudis' investment can only create a golden period of retirement for the stars who have passed their prime and have sold not only their skills on the field, but also their names for oil dollars. But some other observers believe that although the purchases of Saudi Arabia will naturally improve the condition of the club and national teams of this country to some extent, the main goal of the Saudis from these expensive purchases is to guarantee the results of sports competitions nor is to improve Saudi Arabia’s ranking in FIFA’s charts; Rather, Saudi Arabia has bought "football" and "football influence" with oil dollars!

Although what has been discussed in sports circles and media about "New Arabia" has been mostly speculation, but now this country is on the eve of its first football test after buying the legendary football stars, it can hope to receive more important test results in a wide range as big as hundreds of millions of football fans in the world. The Asian Champions League will be held in less than two weeks, and the Saudis have already attracted the attention of the football world due to the prestigious names of their foreign players.

The start of the West Asian competitions has another important margin, which first of all shows that although "football" and "politics" are separate, they are not far from each other. The political agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia a few months ago in Beijing, which was announced in front of the cameras of the world media in the presence of the secretaries of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China, in its own way, caused many surprises and attracted a lot of attention around the world, but now, with the new agreement between Tehran and Riyadh to resolve the issue of hosting the football games and holding the matches of their club teams in the home fields of the two countries, far more eyes will be directed to the new round of Iran-Saudi relations.

It was two weeks ago that the draw for the group stage of the 2023-2024 Asian Champions League season was held at the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Persepolis Tehran, Sepahan Isfahan and Nassaji Mazandaran, the three football clubs and representatives of Iran, knew their rivals in this round of the competition. According to the announcement of the Asian Football Confederation, the group stage of this competition will begin on September 18, and one day after the start of the games, Persepolis from Iran and Al-Nassr from Saudi Arabia will face each other. In the framework of these competitions, Al-Ittihad and Karim Benzema will face Sepahan, and Al-Hilal and Neymar will also face Nassaji Mazandaran. It was after the draw that it was mentioned that the matches between the representatives of the two countries may be held on a neutral ground in a third country, as in the past seven years. This procedure was started in 2016 with the request and complaint of Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, the countries that see a secure Middle East, regional stability, and the development of cooperation in complete conflict and contrast with their own interests, claimed that the opacity that had darkened the relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia since 2016 has deepened, and it is more rooted than to be resolved with several rounds of negotiations and one or two agreements. Accordingly, on the eve of the Asian Champions League, extensive media coverage about the "Right of home field and playing fields" began.

Despite the speculations, the Asian Football Confederation finally officially announced that from now on, the meetings between the football representatives of Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Asian Champions League will be held on the soil of the two countries. In this way, both the "fake news regarding hosting games" ended well and the reports and analyzes that were supposed to be pumped if the games were held in a third country, became turned to nothing and the football rectangle remained green. Of course, it goes without saying that the settlement of the 7-year hosting dispute cannot have been done naturally, and definitely after the announcement of this news, a new interaction between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been formed, which, regardless of its sports nature, shows that Tehran and Riyadh have made a decision, and have chosen the path of dialogue and consultation to resolve all the existing challenges in every level of relations.

In less than two weeks, Tehran's Persepolis will host the Saudi "Al-Nassr" team and its Portuguese star, the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo, at the Azadi Stadium. Regardless of the result obtained at the end of the match between the two prominent teams of West Asia in the green rectangle, the first score of this game will be recorded in the name of successful regional diplomacy; Because not only the seven-year spell of the football teams of the two countries playing in the stadiums of Iran and Saudi Arabia is broken, but the spread of the benefits of an agreement from the politics to the sports field shows that the new agreement between the two regional powers, contrary to the claims, was not "ceremonial" and "decorative". The agreement that shows its effects one day at the opening of embassies and consulates and the next day showed its seriousness during the visit of the highest levels of the foreign ministries of the two countries. Now the "playing field" of the Asian Champions League has become a symbolic sign of the change in the "playground" of politics and relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. In Accordance, for the first time, the upcoming football competitions in West Asia have attracted the attention and focus of both political and sports circles. Because on the one hand, the green rectangle is the intersection of politics, football, and of course propaganda for the Saudis, and on the other hand, it is a display of diplomatic victory and an objective and concrete maneuver to change the relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Now, the analysts who follow the developments in the West Asia, see the signs of a new order in the heart of the revived relations between Tehran and Riyadh, in which the two countries are not in the growing process of "normalizing" their relations, but rather, in the near future, the two countries are in process of creating a new "skeleton" for the West Asia as a whole, which no longer wants to be the playing field of a “big game” for powers outside the region. The same West Asia, which is trying to overcome military crises, proxy conflicts and fragile ceasefires, Iran and Saudi Arabia want to create foundations and links that will lead the region from "Geo-Political" competitions to sustainable "Geo-Economic" cooperation.

BY: Mohammad Ghaderi 


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